By Elizabeth Anderson Lopez
Unlike hair stylists, pet groomers aren’t required to be licensed, which can come as a surprise to some pet owners. The good news is there are several factors to consider to successfully choose the best groomer for you and your pet. Take these simple steps to ensure you’re getting the best care for your furry friend.
Before hiring a groomer, ask for the names of a few current clients that you can consult. You can also check the groomer’s website for reviews, and browse their Facebook page for client feedback. Your vet is another great resource for recommending a grooming salon.
When it comes to the prospective groomer and questions, you shouldn’t be the only one doing the asking. The groomer should inquire about your pet, asking its age, if it has allergies or other conditions, and if you have any specific concerns.
Assess the Groomer’s Training
As with any service, training and experience come into play. Ask the prospective groomer what training and certifications she’s received, or look for framed certificates on the walls of the salon. Those can indicate her ongoing commitment to the industry, since most organizations offer continuing education to help groomers stay current on industry trends and standards.
Some organizations to look for include the National Dog Groomers Association of America, International Society of Canine Cosmetologists, Animal Behavior College Certified Pet Groomer, International Pet Groomers, Professional Cat Groomers Association of America, and the National Cat Groomers Institute of America.
When it comes to experience, there’s no magic number for years of practice. If you like everything else about a fairly new groomer, he shouldn’t be ruled out just based on his time in business.
One aspect of experience is whether or not the groomer has processes in place for dealing with certain situations. For example, is there a system—and a relationship with a vet—in case a pet gets hurt? Or you may want to ask about experience with your pet’s specific issue, whether it’s a senior dog with mobility problems or breed-specific grooming requirements.
Take a “Tour de Salon”
“When determining who to select for pet care services, pet owners should not be afraid to schedule an appointment to tour and view the facilities,” says Pam Lauritzen, president of the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists. “During the tour, they should observe the cleanliness of the facility and the employees, how the animals are being handled and treated, and the quality of services being provided.”
Wear white shoes or socks during the tour, and if any fleas are present, you’ll see them jump on you. Lauritzen also recommends confirming that the tools and equipment are up-to-date, well-maintained and sanitized between uses. Make sure cages or crates are clean, and provide ample room for pets to stand up and turn around in comfort.
Ask Lots of Questions
If cage dryers are used, ask how the pets are monitored for their safety. For those times that you wash your dog at home, an easy way to dry is with the ConairPRO Dog™ Pet Dryer. It’s designed specifically for pets and includes a stand so you can keep your hands on your dog instead of holding the dryer.
Ask if the groomer will let you watch the procedure. Some experts feel it is important to allow this, while others have found dogs act up more when their owners are present, so they discourage it. Either way, you should be comfortable with the overall situation so both you and your pet aren’t anxious.
Having one go-to grooming shop can ease your pet’s stress level by providing familiar faces and an expected routine. Asking questions and doing a bit of research beforehand can help you choose someone that will meet your pet’s needs and provide reliable service. And finding a groomer you trust is a win-win for both you and your pet.